Art, and the curation of art, has forever impacted the way we interact with the space around us. Whether you are adding the first brushstroke to a canvas, framing a new piece, or rearranging your existing art collection, art transforms a space, and perhaps more importantly, transforms the way we feel within that space.
Throughout history, artists have talked about the inextricable link between art and wellbeing. For artists from Frida Kahlo to Yayoi Kusama, art has acted as a form of therapy and in some cases, an absolute necessity. Many of the world’s most famous artists, both living and dead, are known for their innate need to create art, and their dependency on their artistic practice.
More recently, there has been a clear shift in the discourse between art and wellbeing. Artists are still seeing their practice as a form of catharsis, however not just for themselves. The role of the viewer is becoming increasingly considered in art theory, and whether that’s down to factors including the growth in installation art, or just a reflection of the time, it’s slowly but surely changing the form that exhibitions take, as well as the existence of art itself. As art is becoming more interactive, so too is it becoming more considerate of what it can offer its audience.
At Rise Art, a gallery which supplies art to homes and offices, we encounter many artists who make art to create an experience. Whether led by a spiritual dimension, of offering a sense of acknowledgment and understanding, so many contemporary artists are engaging in a conversation that exists far beyond the realm of their studio, or the world of a gallery.
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Public art has undoubtedly propelled this notion forward, presenting itself to anyone and everyone, whether they want to see it or not – and its impact is not to be underestimated. With any public piece of art, sometimes the most interesting part of it is the way it interrupts the everyday. People stop, even if only for ten seconds, they look up from their phones, or down from their office. Whether they like it or not is almost irrelevant, as the idea that we all have stopped in our tracks and engaged in a spectacle is an act of artistic catharsis in itself.
At the office, viewing artwork helps employees to restore energy and reduce stress while also evoking a sense of curiosity and creativity. A survey by the Business Committee for the Arts and the International Association for Professional Art Advisors of employees working in US companies with workplace art collections found that art in the office helps businesses to reduce stress (78% agreed), increase creativity (64% agreed) and encourage employees to express opinions (77% agreed).
The dialogue between the artist, the art and the surrounding space is a continuous one, and although the art world may have changed, mediums have evolved and styles have developed, the relationship between art and mental wellbeing is still as prevalent as ever, and no more so than at the office.
Images courtesy of Rise Art. Top image: Mother Avatar Asleep by Trine Bork
As featured in OnOffice 156, Autumn 2021. Read a digital version of the issue for free here